The inevitable is finally going to come to pass…that’s right ladies and gentlemen, death knights are getting nerfed. /tear
We’re starting to get a lot of PvP data in, and several classes are having trouble beating rogues, Frost mages, Ret paladins and death knights.
Death knights have a lot of options at the moment, which is cool, but makes it really hard for another player to catch a break and burn a death knight down. So we’re going to try some changes. I won’t sugar-coat it — these are nerfs.
– The ghoul is doing too much damage. He is receiving 100% of death knight strength, which is much higher than most pets.
– Chains of Ice is going back to be being dispellable. It is probably the best snare in the game at the moment, for a class that already has Death Grip.
– The same is true of both Strangulate and Mind Freeze. Strangulate’s cooldown is going to go up. Mind Freeze remains the quick interrupt.
– We’re increasing the cooldown on Anti-Magic Shell. We don’t think this will hurt DKs in PvE much, and it still leaves you with Icebound Fortitude to use often.
As always, if we overdid it, if DKs are now too weak in PvP, we’ll adjust. But we were at the point where we weren’t getting a lot of good numbers because some fights were just over too quickly.
Most of these changes don’t seem all that massive, yes they are nerfs, there’s no denying that. But I don’t think these minor changes take away from the overall utility of the class. You’ve got a class that arguable has the best of everything…crowd control, snares, damage output, survivability, all wrapped up in an explosive and high armor package. Something has got to give in order to bring it in line with other classes, especially from a PvP perspective.
I’m very interested to see the finalize version of these changes on the beta. It’s been great to watch Blizzard build a class from the ground up, they really are dong a fine job assimilating such a dynamic and interesting character into the existing.
What do you think? Will death knights before crazy overpowered even after these changes? or are they brought down to the land of us mere mortals.
If you’re a druid and not using focus macros then you’re not not playing at your maximum potential. Focus macros are the easiest way to quickly improve your play, both from PvP and PvE perspectives. If you aren’t already up on focus macros I strongly encourage you go ahead and read my fundamentals for focus macros guide, this will teach you how to setup and use focus macros.
Additionally, make sure you check out my druid macro guide for non-focus druid macros.
Crowd Control Druid Macros
Focus Cyclone Macro
/cast [target=focus] Cyclone
Focus Root Macro
/cast [target=focus] Entangling Roots
Focus Feral Charge Macro
/cast [target=focus] Feral Charge
Focus Hibernate Macro
/cast [target=focus] Hibernate
In my opinion the above 4 macros are absolutely crucial for all druids, particularly PvP druids. These will allow you to efficiently crowd control and / or heal multiple targets since without having to worry about constant target switching. At the very minimum you should be using the focus cyclone macro or arena / pvp purposes.
Modifier Crowd Control Macros
Focus Cyclone Macro + Modifier
/cast [target=focus, modifier:shift] Cyclone; Cyclone
Focus Root Macro + Modifier
/cast [target=focus, modifier:shift] Entangling Roots; Entangling Roots
Focus Feral Charge Macro + Modifier
/cast [target=focus, modifier:shift] Feral Charge; Feral Charge
Focus Hibernate Macro + Modifier
/cast [target=focus, modifier:shift] Hibernate; Hibernate
I prefer this second set of focus cc macros above the first. These will allow you use the focus version of the spell with a regular button press, or a standard target=target spell with a shift modifier. Note: you can change the “shift” to control or alt, or any combination of these three.
Healing Druid Macros
Nature’s Swiftness Focus Macros
/cast Nature’s Swiftness
/cast [target=focus] Healing Touch
Ah yes, the mirror match. Mage / rogue arena strategy mirrors can be particularly difficult, as they require quick reaction time and well executed strategy in order to successfully gain the edge on your opponent. As with any double DPS team even the slightest of errors can quickly lead to a loss
Rogue Opener Strategy
Ideally you want to find the rogue and immediately open up on him. However, this is easier said than done. Chances are both rogues are going to have max stealth talents, so it’s pretty much a toss up that you’re going to get the opener. However, if you do happen to get the opener on the rogue you’re in a great position, you’ve immediately forced the opposing team to have to react to you.
If they don’t make the correct decision with an immediate crowd control they are going to be far behind and well on their way to losing.
Mage’s 2v2 Strategy Role
If your rogue does happen to get the opener then you need to be able to go right into action. If at all possible get immediate CC on the opposing mage and start dropping shatter combos on the rogue. This is where things start moving really quickly.
Side Note: Mage 2v2 Tips Compendium
What If I can’t find the rogue?
This is where things can get really sketchy. If the match timer gets to the point where the shadow sight buffs come up it’s probably just going to be a wash as far as the opener is concerned. Your only concern at this point is to not get absolutely screwed.
How can you get completely screwed you ask?
- Both mages are going for the buff, your mage gets sapped, then the mage and / or rogue gets the shadow sight buff, finds you and the rogue opens on you.
- The opposing rogue picks up the buff, vanishes and shadowstep + cheap shots you.
That said, these are the techniques we are going to try and use against the opposing team in order to gain the advantage. A lot of rogues will simply let their mage pick it up and trade the openers, and this is a fine strategy I suppose. But for me I’d much rather have the fight in my hands, so picking up the stealth buff and immediately going after the rogue is my game plan.
All the while my mage is either going for the other buff and / or keeping the other mage temporarily distracted and /or crowd controlled. If all goes well you’ll have the opener shortly there after and have a huge lead early on.
Game Pace and Reaction Time
More than anything else your reaction time and understanding the pace of these games is going to be a key factor in your success. If your a mage you’re prime goal early on is going to be keeping the other mage out of the fight so you can assist your rogue. Additionally, if you’re the rogue you need to do everything within your power to avoid taking damage while locking down and punishing the opposing rogue.
Rogue’s Crowd Control and Damage Avoidance
Always be watching for the possible crowd control trains on you. While most teams will just play the mage vs. mage CC battle some may go for a switch, especially if you are without a trinket (this should always be in the back of your mind because you can do the same thing to them!).
If the rogue makes a stupid decision on the trinket you can simply go blind into a sap combo and bomb on the mage. Even if you aren’t able to kill the mage you’re put him into an immediate defensive position, potentially allow your team to regen / bandage some life, and certainly made the mage go through a lot of mana kiting you.
Whether it’s damage or crowd control, as the rogue you have a lot of tools to really make the mage’s job hell.
- Vanish immune shatter combos or sheeps
- Cloak of Shadows shatter combos or sheeps
- Toss a gouge if the mage is within range to cut casts
- Toss a kick if the mage is withing range. Brief note here, using focus kick macros makes this incredibly easy, so you can conduct drive by kicks on the mage without even having to target him.
- Use blind to stop casts. Not always worth it, but sometimes necessary if you are close to dying.
Mage’s Crowd Control and Avoidance
Just like the rogue the mage has the ability to prevent / break many of the potential CC’s. Versus most 2v2 teams you’d want to use these on a bit slower pace, but in an arena matchup as face paced and furious as this you simply CANNOT take a full duration poly or blind. So be prepared to quickly use your…
- Ice Block / Trinket on sheeps and blind when necessary
- Help your rogue cut the mage’s casts via sheep and crowd control, especially on shatter combos
Looking for more strategies? Check out the complete rogue / mage 2v2 arena strategy guide!
Rogue / Rogue vs. Druid / Rogue is no easy match, typically any team with a druid is going to be a tough match for a double rogue team. That said, using systemic decision making and quick reflexes we can learn how to effectively counter these 2v2 teams.
Ideal Strategy, Jump the Druid in Stealth
Ideally what we’re going to try and do is find the druid in stealth and immediately open on him. This serves 2 purposes.
- Gets you into combat and prevents you from being sapped
- Puts immediate pressure on the druid
If everything goes as planned you’ll kill the druid straight up, but for any of you who have played double rogue for any stretch of time you know this is rarely how it happens.
The Druid is in Bear form, what do I do?
Often times druids are wise to double DPS teams and will immediately exit stealth as soon as they realize there are rogues and enter bear form. This is when this combo can be very difficult.
Let’s be frank, you probably aren’t going to burst a druid in bear form out. So you have a few options. First, and probably the most effective is going to be attack the open and drop a bomb on the rogue. If you get a solid opener and / or if the druid is out of position you can immediately red line the rogue. Make sure you have your rupture up on the rogue as you know he’ll be going for a vanish.
Once you’ve got the opener going on the rogue you need to be looking to crowd control the druid. Either via gouge, kick, or if the druid is dumb enough a blind / sap combo. Most games the druid is still going to get a few HoTs and the NS off, but this doesn’t mean you lose. Keep up the damage, evasion tank the rogue and keep working to get the druid out of the fight. You’ve got 2 blinds, a potential sap combo, kick and gouge to punish the druid with.
Is Switching Targets a Good Strategy?
I think many double DPS teams really are reluctant to try a target switch, in some cases this fear is rational. However, if a switch is handled in the proper way it can be very effective. For example, many rogues may panic when they see a two other rogues attacking them. In the event he trinkets a CS or KS you’ve got him right where you want him.
What if the rogue trinkets my blind?
At this point you should throw the blind, which you’re going to transition into at least 1, probably 2 saps. This will give you a minimum of 20 seconds to have unrestricted damage on the druid. Even if the druid is sitting in bear form 20 seconds is a long period of time, especially if you can evasion tank the rogue for an additional 15 seconds after your crowd controls have ended.
Final Points on Avoiding Crowd Control
On a double DPS team every second counts, it is absolutely crucial you avoid being crowd controlled at all times. In the case of this team you are going to want to save your trinket for a blind, the only scenario you wouldn’t want to use your trinket on blind is if the rogue was just reeling on you and caught you medium / low health in a KS.
It’s very helpful to set the druid as your focus target, this will allow you to watch incoming crowd control on you so you can take the appropriate action to avoid being taken out of the fight. These actions include:
- Preemptive Cloak of Shadows on cyclone / root
- Vanish immune on cyclone / root
- Vanish immune on feral charge
- Preemptive evasion if you believe the druid may attempt to bash you
- Preemptive evasion if you believe the rogue is about to blind you (if your trinket is down, note: This is very hard to watch for, especially if you don’t have your focus on the rogue)
Looking for more rogue / rogue strategies? Check out the complete rogue / rogue 2v2 arena guide!
Rogue Arena Tactics
The strategy for the rogue is pretty basic here. If at all possible you want to sap the priest. This will allow you to get a solid start on the warlock and in many cases fill him outright. If you must use shadowstep to pull off the sap, it’s crucial you get it off quickly and cleanly.
Once you’re on the lock you need to be very watchful for fears. The mage cannot afford to burn his CS on the lock, so it’s up to you to kick / kidney shot any single target fear or howl of terror. Additionally, be ready to use your blind on the priest to assist the mage in his crowd control rotation.
I highly suggest using a focus blind macro to make this cc transition as seamless as possible. In an ideal game your rotation might look something like this. Sap –> Sheep –> Trinkets the sheep. Blind –> Sap –> CS — Sheep. While this always isn’t going to work out perfectly like this knowing your CC rotation from the beginning will be a huge aid to your success.
Mage Arena Tactics
While the mage is certainly going to be adding damage your primary role is still to crowd control the healer. Most mages are very confident in their own sheep / CS rotation, but don’t forget the fact you have a rogue. It will be very important for you and your rogue to successfully communicate through the match to maximize your collective crowd control.
Just like with the rogue’s blind, using focus sheep or focus CS macros can be very helpful. Not only do they allow you to quickly pull off your various forms of CS, but many times they can catch your opponents off guard. Many players watch for you as the mage to target them, often this is a dead give away to an incoming sheep or blind. Using focus macros you never actually have to target them, so they have zero idea what’s coming!
Looking for more strategies? Check out the complete rogue / mage 2v2 arena strategy guide!
Much like most warrior / healer teams, your opponents will probably have to try harder than you.
Get a sap on the warrior and open on the paladin going full out dps to force his bubble. Once he bubbles reset the fight via vanish. If you and your partner are having trouble CC’ing the warrior while forcing the paladin to bubble pop Evasion and Ghostly Strike as needed to avoid unwanted bleed effect when resetting the fight. Kill the paladin, and get away from the warrior if you have to.
Crowd control the warrior as best as possible with sheeps, frost novas, Rank 1 Frost Bolts(to Frost Bite snare him). These are all able to be cleansed by the pally, so tell your rogue to dodge it up if you’re having trouble controlling the warrior. Assist dps, and once the pally bubbles hit iceblock to reset the fight and wait it out. You decide when you want your rogue to blind, but I recommend while going for a kill on the pally or after killing the pally one of you has to get away.
Looking for more strategies? Check out the complete rogue / mage 2v2 arena strategy guide!
Wrath of the Lich King is going to have a lot in store for the Shaman class. The new abilities that Shaman will gain promise to help bridge the gap between the crowd control based classes and the movement based classes while keeping the burst damage that shaman have come to know and love. Here are some of the new skills and abilities that shaman will be gaining on their journey to level 80.
Requires Melee Weapon
Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with earthen life. Increases healing done by 26 and each heal has a 20% chance to proc Earthliving on the target, healing an additional 360 over 12 sec. Lasts 30 minutes.
Earthliving weapon is a spell gained at level 30 and a new rank will become available every 10 levels after that. While the exact values of the effect are not set in stone for all the different ranks, it is fairly certain that this ability will be a staple in any Restoration Shaman’s arsenal.
Some notes on this ability from WotLK beta:
- The heal proc has the ability to proc off of each jump on a Chain Heal
- The healing done by the HoT and the threat associated with that heal are both credited to the caster of the heal, not the recipient like Prayer of Mending or Lifebloom’s final tick.
- Like Lifebloom, the HoT ticks every second.
2 sec cast
30 yd range
8 sec cooldown
You hurl molten lava at the target, dealing 888 to 1132 Fire damage. If Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will consume the Flame Shock, causing Lava Burst to critically hit.
Obtained at level 75, this ability is not only going to help keep elemental shaman PvE more exciting than spamming lightning bolts but it will be great for a burst damage setup in PvP. If you flame shock, wait a few seconds for your shock cooldown to tick down and get setup for a cast (or cast lightning bolts if you don’t have to move), Lava Burst, Elemental Mastery Chain Lightning, Earth Shock, you are going to be putting out a powerful punch that will be tough for healers to react to if they don’t see it coming.
Some notes from WotLK beta:
- Enhancement shaman specced for Elemental Devastation and Maelstorm Weapon will see great synergy by keeping flame shock on their target, waiting for a Maelstorm Weapon proc (Instant cast spells after you critically strike in melee 5 times), then Lava Bursting to guarentee a spell crit which will keep Elemental Devastation up (9% Melee Crit)
- The strength of this spell will cause enhancement shaman to use less earth shocks in times where and interrupt isn’t needed. This frees up stormstrike debuffs for other classes that will be using them like Marks Hunters, Rogues, Elemental Shaman, and Balance Druids.
1.5 sec cast
45 sec cooldown
20 yd range
Transforms the enemy into a frog. While hexed, the target cannot attack or cast spells. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Lasts 30 sec. Only one target can be hexed at a time. Only works on Humanoids and Beasts.
After four years in the making, player-controlled shaman finally get the ability that their server-controlled NPC brothers have had for years. One significant thing about this spell is that it is more like a fear on a long cooldown than a sheep. The target may have slight damage caused to it and being hexed will not cause the target to heal.
Some notes from WotLK beta:
- Hex is currently a Curse, so only mages, druids and resto specced shaman can remove the spell.
- Hex uses a polymorph mechanic so classes that have abilities which remove those effects, like druids that shapeshift, will be able to get out of it.
- The CD is long enough that it can be used in many situations where sap would be used in a 5 man instance. You can also use the ability to re-apply crowd control to a target who’s sap had ended.
Rogue / Warlock vs. Priest / Rogue 2v2 is a very difficult match up for you to win simply due to the nature of the priest’s spells. As a rogue / warlock 2v2 team you have a few main objectives you must achieve in order to win the match.
- Crowd control and lock down (both on healers and DPS)
- Minimize damage taken (this is usually no problem if you achieve point number 1)
- Force the other team into situations where misusing a trinket will cost them the game
Achieving these goals is no easy task, especially if the priest / rogue team have undead players on there team. Ideally you want to sap the rogue and immediately open on the priest. This allows you maximum time to apply all DoTs and have strong damage before the fight has even begun.
If the rogue trinkets the sap you should immediately blind him and stay on the priest. Following the blind you can hit him with a back to back fears followed by the vanish sap. Of course this is an absolute ideal scenario, as with any double DPS team things can quickly go wrong. But, if you’re able to pull off this type of well timed CC you have virtually assured yourself the win.
If you are unable to sap the rogue you have a few options.
- Wait for stealth buffs to come up and force them to engage your warlock. This gives your rogue maximum time to find and sap the opposing rogue, allowing for the best possible opener.
- If your rogue is unable to find the rogue / if the opposing rogue jumps the warlock you’ll have no choice but to open up on the rogue yourself. At this point the rogue’s gear choices will really come into effect.
If the rogue is wearing a large amount of tier 6 you should remain on his. Especially if you’ve already successfully secured the opener. The warlock should do what he can to position himself away from the rogue (out of LoS of Shadowstep if at all possible). At this point it really comes down to your crowd control. Keep the rogue locked down as much as possible and start the fear train on the priest.
If you’ve got enough pressure on the rogue at this point you’re in great shape. The priest will likely blow his trinket, at which point we can blind / vanish / sap combo the priest and finish off the rogue. In the event the rogue isn’t dead by the end of this CC train your fear will be off diminishing returns so you can simply start the fear combo up again and repeat the process.
I really view this matchup with 2 basic opening goals.
- You sap the rogue and bomb the priest
- You force the rogue to open on your lock and bomb the rogue
However, I would like to remind everyone there is no absolute strategy here that must be followed. If the rogue just isn’t dropping don’t be afraid pull a switch on the priest. Sometimes the sudden change in target can be enough to through the priest off his game and put him in a position where your team can gain the upper hand. Your crowd control and rotations are going to be more or less the same regardless of your actual target selection. It’s far more important to react quickly to the changing game.
Can’t get enough warlock / rogue 2v2 strategy? Check out the complete guide here! Rogue / Warlock 2v2 Arena Strategy.
The druid / rogue combo is an excellent team matrix and has the potential to go to the highest ratings. At times it may seem weak, but with practice you’ll learn to master the mechanics of coordinated crowd control that this matrix requires.
As with any team, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Rogue / Druid Advantages:
-Awesome crowd control via the druid
-You can go out of combat (OOC) at virtually any time if something goes wrong or you need mana.
-Lots of control via the rogue’s stuns and interrupts
-Very strong cooldowns and the ability to kite quite well.
-Ability to play both very offensively and defensively (spec depending)
Rogue / Druid Disadvantages:
-The druid must rely heavily on the rogue to lock down opposing targets, thus allowing the druid to crowd control and heal effectively
-Very precise matrix, timing is key in this matrix (specifically with cyclone)
Druid Arena Talent Builds
8/11/42 This is the baseline restoration build. It offers the most healing of any viable talent build for druids.
11/11/39 Similar to the build below, slightly less offensive allowing for additional points in healing centric talents.
13/11/37 A more offensive version of the restoration build. Drops points in some of the excessive healing talents for 20% range on balance spells, insect swarm, and improved moon fire.
34/0/27 This talent spec is vastly different than the above 3 I have listed. I requires a very offensive approach on both the rogue and druids part. While you pickup some of the good restoration talents you don’t have the ability to survive long durations as easily with this talent specs. However, plays comfortable with quickly shifting from defensive to offensive roles (IE..spamming wrath during bomb periods once you’ve got some crowd control out) will find this build well suited to them.
Need more spec advice? Druid Arena Talent Specs
Rogue Arena Talent Builds
49/0/12 (Heavy Poisons)
Mutilate is a viable spec, but it requires a very distinct “finesse” play style. If you’re not experienced with mutilate already I would not suggest playing it until you’ve had a chance to thoroughly advance your abilities with it.
These are just a few of the potential specs you could choose to go with under the combat category. There are an infinite number of possible talent specs, you’re personal play style will determine which talents suit you better.
Need more spec advice? Rogue Arena Talent Specs
Rogue / Druid Arena Matchups:
- Warrior / Druid
- more coming soon!
Rogue / Druid PvP Arena Videos
Moonkin / Rogue 2v2 Video – Buddhist and Lewt
Like most double DPS teams rogue / warlock is built on one central foundation, control. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of crowd control between the two classes. You’ve got sap, blind, cheap shot, kidney shot, kick, and gouge on the rogue front and fear, death coil, curses, and drains from the warlock.
All of these items are just part of the greater underlying mechanic in the rogue / warlock matrix, forcing the trinket. Any double DPS team is going to do a lot of damage, but the real difficult part in mastering these teams is learning to…
1) force the trinket (via initial crowd control)
2) put a long duration crowd control on a target (typically a healer) after the trinket has been used
It’s no easy task, but if you can master this basic mechanic of linked control controls then you’re well on your way to having a successful rogue / warlock team.
Arena Talent Specs
Shadowstep – 20/0/41
This is my personal preference. Plenty of cooldowns to stick to the your focus target, great short term damage burst, and survivability when called upon.
Shadowstep – 16/0/45
Same thing as the above build, only difference is you skip poison talents to get enveloping shadows and one more point in camo.
Other “viable” builds. Below are builds, which yes, you could use, but I don’t consider them to be the best option. These are builds which rely heavily on your play style for proper execution, if you are not comfortable and experienced playing them you should consider the specs I have listed above.
AR / Prep – 0/31/30
Standard AR / Prep with maces
Soul Link / Siphon Life 24/37/0
You basically have no other option but SL / SL as rogue / warlock. There are minor point variations you may choose, but for the most part it’s a pretty locked spec.
Soul Link / Siphon Life 27/34/0
Just one of many variations on the traditional SL / SL spec. The warlock’s play style will determine many of your talent choices.
Arena Gear / Equipment
Since you’re running without a healer survivability will be at a premium. By the same token, you need quick kills. I’d suggest just using all the honor and arena gear and stacking your offensive stats via gems and enchants.
In addition, you may consider using Battlemaster’s Determination. In my experience it can be the reason you win or lose a match.
Like the rogue, survivability is key. You should gem and enchant your gear to enhance your survivability as a warlock. I’d also suggest picking up the Battlemaster’s Audacity. A well timed trinket and a healthstone will be essential most matches.
Generally speaking I’d say 12,500 HP and 450 resilience is a good stat place to sit at.
Rogue / Warlock Arena Matchups:
Warlock Arena Macros: